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1970s / Ron Palillo
Actor Ron Palillo is best known for his role as the timid, dorkish Arnold Horshack on the 1970s sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter. Palillo was born on April 2, 1949, in Cheshire, CT. He became interested in acting at an early age. By age 14, Palillo had started a profitable summer theater enterprise in his hometown. After high school, Palillo attended the University of Connecticut where he majored in drama. After graduation, Palillo took a job with a touring Shakepeare company. Palillo later moved to New York City and acquired a role in the successful off-Broadway play Hot-L Baltimore with which he stayed for over a year. Palillo's stage success led to his role as Horshack on Welcome Back, Kotter in 1975. Although he was playing the part of a high school student, Palillo was 26 years old when the show debuted. In contrast, teacher Gabe Kotter (played by Gabe Kaplan) was only 30. The Horshack character is fondly remembered for his odd, nasal, hyena-like laugh and his childish way of yelling 'Oh! Oh! Oh!' whenever he raised his hand to answer a question. When the sitcom was axed in 1979, Palillo found it difficult to obtain new acting roles. To distance himself form the Horshack character, he had a nose job and a chin job. Palillo did make onetime appearances in a few TV shows such as Love Boat, Cagney and Lacey, and The A-Team, but he has definitely faded from the limelight. One website, Washed Up Celebrities, claims Palillo will talk to anyone for a $20 fee.